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Thursday, 19 July 1906

Mr McWILLIAMS (Franklin) .- I have much pleasure in supporting the Bill. I have been in camp on several occasions, and, although I must admit that the sobriety of the men generally has been particularly noticeable, I cannot ignore the fact that the only trouble that I have ever known to occur has arisen through the men having a canteen at which they could obtain liquor. The canteen is a source of danger, not so much to men of mature years as to young fellows who are not in the habit of taking much liquor. Perhaps, in order to appear a little bit soldierly, or through a sadly mistaken idea of friendship they are induced to drink a glass or two of liquor, and, being unaccustomed to it, they get into a condition into which they would not fall if the canteen did not exist. But if we decide to abolish the canteen we must be careful that a stringent regulation is framed to prevent the admission into camp of large quantities of liquor for consumption at the officers' and non-commissioned officers' mess. The abolition of the canteen system will fail to a very considerable extent if we permit the free introduction of liquor into camp for the purpose to which I have referred. Before concluding, I cannot avoid recalling a statement which was made to me not very long ago by a military officer. He said," You members of Parliament have a pretty good cheek to talk about abolishing the canteen in camp, seeing that you have a canteen of your own." That is a point which may be worthy of the consideration of this House upon a future occasion. I have very much pleasure in supporting the Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clause i. (Short Title.)

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